10 Ways to Spice up Your Sex Life After Baby

Sex after baby -- depending on how a new mom is feeling, both physically and mentally, sexual activity can resume in usually four to six weeks after childbirth. But what about when it doesn't? If you're one of those couples that feel their sex life after bringing home baby resembles the funeral pyre of the mythical phoenix, you're not alone. But not only can you have a sex life after having a baby, it can be a good one.

It's important to wait for the go-ahead from your healthcare provider before getting back in the saddle -- bleeding (the lochia) should be stopped, and any tearing or C-section incisions should be healed. Maybe it doesn't fit into this new lifestyle or you're just too tired to do it. Drop the excuses, take a shower and try our tips for spicing up your sex life.

10

Exercise

Finding the time for exercise can improve not only your abdominal muscles but also your sex life.
Finding the time for exercise can improve not only your abdominal muscles but also your sex life.
DCL

If you're like about half of the American women out there, you weren't exercising as much as experts tell us to -- at least 30 minutes a day, five to seven days a week -- before you got pregnant. And now that you're a new mom, it's hard to find time to shower no less find 30 minutes every day for a workout.

Finding the time for exercise, though, can improve not only your abdominal muscles but also your sex life. A study at the University of British Columbia reports exercise makes a difference in how satisfied a woman is with her sex life -- just 20 minutes of exercise fired up the women participants' sexual response.

When you get your body moving, you get your blood flowing, and that includes to the genital region. Lower body exercises such as lunges as well as core-building moves like plank position all help to tone and strengthen muscles used during sex, with the added benefit of feeling good about boosting your energy, losing weight and sculpting those sexy abs.

Did You Know?

Sex itself is exercise. Just 30 minutes of sex burns 85 calories (or more, depending on how vigorous the sex is). Have 30 minutes of sex 42 times and you'll burn enough calories to lose a pound.

9

Work Your Kegels

Strengthening pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises also helps reduce your risk of urinary incontinence.
Strengthening pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises also helps reduce your risk of urinary incontinence.
DCL

Working out your body is important and don't forget to include your pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bladder and bowels, and pregnancy and childbirth weaken them. Kegel exercises will help. The stronger your pelvic floor muscles are, the more strongly they'll contract during an orgasm.

First, find your pelvic floor muscles -- one of the most common ways is to try to stop the flow of urine as you go to the bathroom (don't make this a habit, though, because fiddling with your urine flow may put you at risk for urinary tract infections). The muscles that allow you to do this are the muscles you want to work out.

To perform Kegels, pretend you're stopping the urine flow. Squeeze those muscles for about 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat. If 10 seconds is too long, try three or five to begin with -- practicing a set of 10 Kegels three times a day will have your pelvic floor muscles in shape in about six to 12 weeks. And since no one can tell you're doing them, you can pretty much do Kegels whenever you feel like it -- while you're in the car, checking e-mail or even standing in line at the store.

Added bonus: strengthening pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises also helps reduce your risk of (as well as help treat) urinary incontinence. No one feels sexy when she leaks a little urine every time she laughs.

8

Sleep

Sleep benefits sex and, as it turns out, sex benefits sleep.
Sleep benefits sex and, as it turns out, sex benefits sleep.
DCL

According to a 2007 study by the National Sleep Foundation, about 84 percent of postpartum women experience a sleep problem at least a few nights a week and about 72 percent wake up feeling unrefreshed. While this isn't going to be a surprise to any mom, what may be surprising is that this sleep deprivation can hurt your sexual relationship with your partner.

A 2002 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that while there isn't a direct relationship between sweet dreams and sex, mood is affected by the amount of sleep we get. People who feel tired, stressed, sad or angry -- all common when we don't get about seven to eight hours of sleep a night -- are unlikely to be in the mood for sex.

"Your kids really deserve the happiest, most fulfilled mom they can have. And moms all want to do the best for their children," says Kristen Chase, who is also known as the Mominatrix, publisher and COO of Cool Mom Picks. "Taking care of ourselves and our relationships are the best things we can do. You're modeling a positive relationship and what a happy mom looks like."

Sleep benefits sex and, as it turns out, sex benefits sleep. When you orgasm, your body releases oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, and oxytocin promotes sleep -- which you'll need for having more sex.

Did You Know?

More than 51 percent of people polled in a 2009 survey sponsored by Westin Hotels & Resorts and conducted by the National Sleep Foundation preferred a perfect night of sleep to great sex.

7

Don't Have Sex

Instead of sex, build the anticipation for sex.
Instead of sex, build the anticipation for sex.
DCL

That's right: Spice up your sex life by not having sex.

"Take turns making requests until you're ready for intercourse," suggests Eliza Holland, CNM, MSN, and chairperson of the Connecticut Chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives. "Today you get to decide. And you might just want a massage. Then it's his turn. Intercourse happens when you both agree it's time."

Instead of sex, build the anticipation for sex. Touch, tease and explore each other's bodies. Or revisit old favorites. Remember what it was like to just kiss? Maybe making out in the backseat of your car will make you feel like teenagers again, without a care in the world.

6

Talk About Sex

The power of talking is not only for setting expectations but also for turning yourself and your partner on.
The power of talking is not only for setting expectations but also for turning yourself and your partner on.
DCL

The first time out of the gate, talk it over with your partner. A huge piece of this is communication, and setting expectations -- yours and your partner's. It's not only helpful in making clear what you are and aren't yet comfortable with, mentally and physically, but such a discussion is also in itself an act of intimacy.

"Talk about the first time you're going to be intimate and decide what you're comfortable with. It may not be intercourse," says Holland.

What it might be is up to you -- and don't forget the power of talking not only for setting expectations but also for turning yourself and your partner on. Never underestimate what a naughty instant message or text message sent to your partner during the day can do to turn things up at night.

Did You Know?

According to a 2009 study by Trojan, the average American has sex 84 times a year.

5

Ditch the Loungewear

Feeling sexy doesn't just mean physically, but also how you're feeling mentally.
Feeling sexy doesn't just mean physically, but also how you're feeling mentally.
DCL

Sexy is a state of mind, and that's a hard state to reach if you haven't showered in days and are wearing yoga pants and a spit-up stained t-shirt. Now, no one's suggesting teetering on your stilettos while you rock your newborn or chase after your toddler but feeling sexy is one of the first steps to desiring sex -- and face it, those yoga pants aren't sexy.

"Moms feel guilty about taking time for themselves, but it really doesn't take that long," advises Chase. "Wear a baby doll style dress and leggings instead of yoga pants. Or get a pedicure."

Feeling sexy doesn't just mean physically, but also how you're feeling mentally. If putting on a sexy new nursing bra (yes, they do exist) or your favorite perfume puts you in sexier state of mind, it's one step closer to wanting and getting sex.

4

Pose

Sexually unsatisfied women who began practicing yoga reported increased levels of arousal, desire and better orgasms.
Sexually unsatisfied women who began practicing yoga reported increased levels of arousal, desire and better orgasms.
DCL

While downward-facing dog isn't a sex move, it could help you spice things up in the boudoir (or the kitchen, laundry room or SUV - but more on that in a minute). Sexually unsatisfied women who began practicing yoga reported increased levels of arousal, desire and better orgasms, according to a recent study published in the December 2008 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Practicing yoga increases flexibility, promotes weight loss and helps strengthen your muscles, including the pelvic floor muscles, but it also helps to get you back in touch with yourself. It can ease anxiety and fatigue -- and what mom doesn't have those excuses for passing on sex? All of these benefits add up to feeling better about your body and achieving better orgasms. Two poses with sex-enhancing perks to try: Upavista Konasana and Baddha Konasana.

3

Try a New Location

A change of venue can spice up what may have become lackluster.
A change of venue can spice up what may have become lackluster.
DCL

If the thought of slipping between the sheets makes you want sleep, not sex, consider getting busy outside the bedroom.

"The ability to be spontaneous does get circumvented," advises Holland. "Put aside the 3,000 house projects that are waiting for your time and make sex a priority."

If scheduling time for sex isn't your thing, try having sex in new places -- not only does it bring some spontaneity back, letting you strike when the mood hits -- it also spices up your encounter with a rush of excitement. A survey conducted by Elle-MSNBC.com found that 22 percent of Americans had sex in a public place in 2005. Whether it's a risque romp in a public place or maybe an afternoon delight in your own kitchen, a change of venue can spice up what may have become lackluster.

2

Pay a Visit to Your Doctor

A thyroid problem as well as some medications can both be culprits in libido loss.
A thyroid problem as well as some medications can both be culprits in libido loss.
DCL

While it's normal to feel pain or discomfort as you heal in the weeks directly following childbirth, that pain and discomfort is not normal months (or years) later. Not only does it interfere with a good sex life, it can also interfere with fulfilling relationships and intimacy.

"Moms don't seem to sit down and think about why they aren't having sex," explains Chase (the Mominatrix). "Three weeks postpartum, give yourself a break. If it's been three months, six months, six years, take a minute to think about why you're not having sex. Is it physical pain? Often women put those issues off and they're all usually easy issues to address."

A thyroid problem as well as some medications can both be culprits in libido loss. If you received an episiotomy, for example, remaining scar tissue can cause pain during sex. Pain from your scar may ease on its own over time but surgery can also be a consideration for tissue that remains bothersome. Pain is a common problem -- the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates nearly two out of three women will experience painful sex at some point -- and worth the embarrassment of discussing with your doctor.

1

Buy a Lubricant

The rapidly changing hormones (blame estrogen) in your body after giving birth can cause a decrease in natural vaginal lubrication -- even if you're in the mood and the time is now, a dry vagina means discomfort, burning, pain and possibly tearing during sex. What's a girl to do? Browse the water-soluble lubricants aisle at your local drugstore.

Researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation conducted a study about women's sexual experiences when using water and silicone-based lubricants. Their findings? Genital pain was reported by fewer than 5 percent of the participants, and vaginal tearing by fewer than 1 percent.

Choosing the right lubricant comes down to personal preference, and if you haven't considered a lubricant before, know that they come in a variety of flavors and styles (including warming lubes that boost arousal). For best results, lube early and lube often.

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